1st Edition

The Disease of Virgins Green Sickness, Chlorosis and the Problems of Puberty

By Helen King Copyright 2004
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    From an acclaimed author in the field, this is a compelling study of the origins and history of the disease commonly seen as afflicting young unmarried girls.

    Understanding of the condition turned puberty and virginity into medical conditions, and Helen King stresses the continuity of this disease through history,depsite enormous shifts in medical understanding and technonologies, and drawing parallels with the modern illness of anorexia.

    Examining its roots in the classical tradition all the way through to its extraordinary survival into the 1920s, this study asks a number of questions about the nature of the disease itself and the relationship between illness, body images and what we should call‘normal’ behaviour.

    This is a fascinating and clear account which will prove invaluable not just to students of classical studies, but will be of interest to medical professionals also.

    Introduction, 1 The nature of green sickness, The humoral body, From green jaundice to green sickness, Green sickness and the disease of virgins, How green was green sickness? Green sickness and love sickness, 2 A new disease? The classical sources for the disease of virgins, Lange’s letter, Hippocratic virginity, The transmission of On the disease of virgins, What is a virgin? Other possible Hippocratic sources, ‘Some unknown monster’: the challenge of ‘new’ diseases, 3 The menstruating virgin, The Galenic physiology of menstruation, Alternative theories of menstruation, Letting blood in the Hippocratic and Galenic bodies, ‘Marriage is a sovereign cure’, The problem of puberty, The philosophy of puberty, Town and country, 4 Dietary factors, Food and the growth of the body, Pica, Green sickness as a liver disorder, Constipation 5 ‘The laboratory came to the rescue’: technology and chlorosis, The pulse, The stethoscope, Blood testing, Treatments, Shall we dance? Rest, Alternatives to orthodoxy, Women physicians and chlorosis, Conclusion


    Helen King